By Rory Murphy
Members of the public are being asked for their views on the use of Body Worn Video (BWV) by armed police officers when interacting with communities in Scotland.
BWV has been shown to have a positive impact on the safety of the public and the officers wearing it, and all other armed police units in the UK are currently deployed with cameras.
The introduction of BWV will bring Police Scotland in line with these other forces and ensure best practice and evidence as well as increased transparency and accountability at incidents.
The online survey, which opened for three weeks from February 1 2021, will allow members of the public to engage and offer their opinions on the deployment of BWV in Scottish policing for the future.
The move follows support from Chief Constable Iain Livingstone , pictured left, for the deployment of BWV to armed police officers as a “pressing, critical, ethical and operational imperative” and his commitment to focused and concise public engagement prior to rollout.
An initial roll-out of BWV will equip our armed police officers as soon as possible during the course of 2021. This deployment will also provide a valuable basis and learning for the consideration of a broader national plan to roll out BWV to police officers across Scotland in the future.
Assistant Chief Constable Kenny MacDonald, who is leading on the introduction of BWV, said: “The Chief Constable has consistently expressed strong support for the greater deployment of body worn video by Police Scotland officers and staff.
“Armed policing remains an area of high risk and understandable public scrutiny and as such this roll-out will help improve transparency and accountability. The safety of our officers and staff as well as that of the public remains paramount in our decision to introduce this technology.
“While this is not new technology, and every other armed policing unit in the UK uses body worn cameras, it is a significant introduction for Scottish policing and as such our public engagement survey is essential to ensuring people have a voice and it will help us gather and address any ethical and community related concerns where possible.”
Martyn Evans, Chair of the Scottish Police Authority, said: “The use of body worn video is widespread across UK policing and the benefits to effective policing such as improved officer safety, reducing and resolving complaints against officers and an increase in early guilty pleas, have been positively evaluated in the current limited use across Scotland.
“However, it is important that whenever new technology is adopted, that the implications are fully considered through an extensive stakeholder consultation process. We welcome the launch of a public survey and would encourage as many people as possible to register their views. The SPA looks forward to considering all responses as part of our oversight of the implementation of BWV.”